As for the energy discussion, why not let natural market forces drive the industry direction with respect to coal vs nat gas vs renewable, and at the same time let the government seed research and development for new technologies for the longer range energy policy? Business people tend to be smart folks and given a level playing field and rules of the game they will deliver the most efficient solution. When you add in government intervention it distorts the playing field and causes artificial pressures on supply and demand. Which usually drives up cost, which in the end winds up being like a tax on the consumer. For example, coal becomes necessarily more costly, in order to make less efficient technologies appear more attractive.
So acknowledging that coal and gas supplies are finite, when the supplies start becoming limited, basic economics indicates that given the same demand, costs/prices will increase naturally, and at some point, renewable energy sources/technologies will naturally become more attractive cost/price wise. Improved technologies in the renewable arena will hasten the transition, but forcing it before its time just increases the cost to the average consumer, which takes away their spending power. More spent on energy, less spent elsewhere.
Anecdotally, the quote I received for a solar set up to meet my household electric requirements showed a 60 year payback... SIXTY YEARS? The useful life of the equipment is at best 30 years. I would be happy to put in solar, at the point when it is economically viable. Which it will be one day. But not yet. Most solar installations I see in our area are for government buildings. It doesn't seem to have to make sense economically for the government since they are suing OPM (other people's money).
So Bluebee your passion for nat gas and renewable energy sources is admirable, but why would you be willing to place this cost burden/tax on the lower and middle class?